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Plays of the Day
Value: Tim Frazier finished the 2015-16 season on a high note by averaging 13.1 PPG, 4.5 RPG and 7.6 APG over the final two months of his second campaign. He averaged 6.6 APG, 5.4 RPG and 7 PPG while playing just 26.6 MPG during the preseason, so he could do much more with extensive minutes tonight against a Nuggets team that allowed the sixth-most DK PPG to opposing PGs last season.
Fade: Brook Lopez might get a lot of attention because he’s the unquestioned Alpha on a Brooklyn team that lacks any sort of offensive firepower, but he draws a matchup tonight against Boston that is much tougher with Al Horford in a Celtics uniform. Brooklyn (+13.5) is not supposed to keep it close in Boston’s home opener and that makes BroLo a very risky option.
Games to Target
- Los Angeles Lakers (+6.5) hosting Houston Rockets (Over/Under = 224)
- New Orleans Pelicans (-2.5) hosting Denver Nuggets (Over/Under = 207)
- Philadelphia 76ers (+9) hosting Oklahoma City Thunder (Over/Under = 208)
Russell Westbrook (OKC) @ PHI DK:$11,500/FD:$12,000
The year of Westbrook begins with a dream matchup against a pathetic 76ers defense that should only be worse as they open the year mired with injuries. Diminutive PG T.J. McConnell should start opposite Westy in Philadelphia’s opener, and obviously the most athletic PG in the NBA will be able to abuse the second-year man out of Arizona. Westbrook put up monstrous numbers whenever Kevin Durant missed time over the past several years and now he’s all alone as an offensive force for OKC and highly motivated to take out his anger on any team that stands in his way. An Opening Night price tag of 11.5K is simply too low on DraftKings for a nightly triple-double threat with a mean streak.
Tim Frazier (NOP) vs. DEN: DK:$4,800/FD:$5,000
Here’s a perfect low-cost option to compliment Westbrook in lineups on either main DFS site this evening, as Frazier should start for New Orleans while Jrue Holiday spends time with his wife in a scary situation. The UDFA plays like he’s trying to prove his worth in the NBA after spending extensive time in the D League, and Frazier finished the 2015-16 season on a high note by averaging 13.1 PPG, 4.5 RPG and 7.6 APG over the final two months of his second campaign. He clearly found a home in the Pelicans fast-paced offense and has actually been a triple-double threat during the preseason with averages of 6.6 APG, 5.4 RPG and 7 PPG while playing just 26.6 MPG, so he could do much more with extensive minutes tonight against a Nuggets team that allowed the sixth-most DK PPG to opposing PGs last season.
Ish Smith ($4700/$6400) is another fill-in PG, who draws a tougher matchup than Frazier tonight, but is still an excellent source of salary relief.
Ty Lawson ($5500/$5100) is reportedly locked into big minutes over the first eight games for a Kings team that played at the fastest pace in the NBA last season, and he could excel in a potential shootout with the Suns tonight.
James Harden (HOU) @ LAL: DK:$10,900/FD:$11,200
Shooting Guard is actually full of appealing options tonight, but there are none safer than The Beard. Harden should flourish under new HC Mike D’Antoni, i.e. the architect of the Suns famous “7 seconds or less” offense last decade. D’Antoni already determined that Harden would run the point this year and he has little choice with Patrick Beverley (knee) out for the next couple months. Harden draws a fantastic matchup out of the gate against a Lakers team that ranked dead last in defensive rating, while allowing the most APG (9.28) and second-most FPPG (45.8) to opposing PGs last season. Harden averaged a whopping 31.5 PPG and 52 DK PPG over 4 meetings against that young team and he should start of his 2016-17 campaign as a hybrid PG/SG on a great note.
Victor Oladipo (OKC) @ PHI: DK:$7,100/FD:$7,400
Right alongside Westbrook this season in terms of opportunity and production, Oladipo could also have a great game if the 76ers keep things competitive at home tonight. I would probably only consider the below-average shooter in GPP formats, but Dipo should be able to get to the rim consistently against a Sixers squad that coughed up fourth-most points in the paint (45.6) in the NBA last season. Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor are both on minutes restrictions and that leaves Philly thin up front and potentially incapable of containing a slasher like Oladipo.
Matthew Dellavedova ($4000/$4500 as PG on FD) should fly under the radar because of his quiet finish with the Cavs last season, but he’s locked into big minutes as the Bucks starting PG.
There are several appealing GPP plays in the mid-tier range tonight including Devin Booker ($6500/$6200), Evan Fournier ($6400/$5800) and Eric Gordon ($5200/$5000).
Harrison Barnes (DAL) @ IND: DK:$5,800/FD:$4,800
Pay up for Paul George in a tournament or two if you want, but I’ll be going cheap across the board at SF this evening. There are so many appealing value plays and some of them have tremendous upside, like Barnes, who stands to benefit greatly from a change of scenery this year. He’s effectively the first option in a Dallas offense that’s previously centered around aging stars Dirk Nowitzki and Deron Williams. Rick Carlisle’s genius kept the Mavs offense afloat, as they averaged 102.3 PPG and ranked eleventh in offensive rating last year, but they need a young athlete such as Barnes to make plays and create his own shots. Look for him to put together a solid overall line tonight even if he’s not particularly efficient in a tough matchup against George.
Lance Stephenson (NOP) vs. DEN: DK:$3,000/FD:$4,200
If you’re looking for an even cheaper punt play at SF and don’t mind taking some risk, use Born Ready in what should be a fast-paced tilt with the Nuggets tonight. With both Jrue Holiday (personal) and Tyreke Evans (knee) out indefinitely, Lance should see increased ball-handling duties and he could get the hot hand off the bench for HC Alvin Gentry. Stephenson averaged 14.4 PPG, 4.5 RPG and 2.8 APG over the final two months of the 2015-16 season with those Pelicans guards inactive and he’s been used like a starter throughout the preseason. With career averages of 6 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 12.6 points per 36 minutes, he’s clearly capable of filling up the stat sheet against a weak Denver defense if he can log 25-30 minutes of run this evening.
James Ennis ($3600/$4000) bears consideration as the Grizzlies potential fill-in for injured SF Chandler Parsons.
Consider rolling the dice on rookie Brandon Ingram ($4300/$4000), who finished the preseason strong and offers more upside than Lakers starter Luol Deng (knee) even this early in the season.
Anthony Davis (NOP) vs. DEN: DK:$10,200/FD:$10,100
Oh boy. The bane of our existence in cash games already suffered an ankle injury during the preseason and is always at risk of departing a game after suffering some kind of shoulder sprain, eye-poke, or back bruise and leaving DFS owners in the lurch. Yet Davis also offers ridiculous upside and he showed that the ankle sprain will not be an issue while pouring in 33 points with 13 rebounds over 37 minutes in his final preseason tune-up. Clearly the coaching staff wouldn’t put the franchise at risk by riding The Brow for that long if he wasn’t healthy, so he should be all systems go (at least for the first six minutes) against a Nuggets squad that coughed up the sixth-most FPPG (44.26) to opposing PFs last season and has been terrorized by Davis over the past several seasons.
Dario Saric (PHI) vs. OKC: DK:$4,700/FD:$4,900
Here’s another somewhat risky play to consider in tournament formats, but Saric is much safer because of his reasonable price tag. The rookie came into the preseason with a lot of hype before struggling with his shot, but he’s still locked into heavy minutes to open the year with Nerlens Noel (knee) out for months and both Embiid and Okafor limited. Saric should see plenty of playing time even if the 76ers wind up on the wrong side of a beatdown this evening and he’ll draw a plus matchup on the offensive end of the floor against either rookie Domatis Sabonis or slow-footed PF Ersan Ilyasova. If the Thunder go big with Enes Kanter playing alongside Steven Adams, Saric might slide down to SF, but neither of those 7-footers can contain the skilled Croation on the other end.
JaMychal Green ($4100/$5000) is a great cash game alternative to the risky players listed above, as he should start for Memphis and log heavy minutes while Marc Gasol (foot) opens the season in limited fashion.
Ryan Anderson ($6700/$6800) is a perfect fit in Houston with D’Antoni calling the shots and Harden distributing. He’ll have to hit 5-8 threes to exceed value, but the sharpshooter is definitely capable of torching a weak Lakers defense. Also consider Terrence Jones ($4500/$4000) if you’re fading The Brow but want a part of the Pelicans offense.
Hassan Whiteside (MIA) @ ORL: DK:$8,100/FD:$8,700
The DFS community might determine that Bismack Biyombo’s absence tonight makes Nikola Vucevic a great play as the undisputed center in Orlando, but I’m going the other way and considering that as a huge upgrade for Miami’s big man. Whiteside has dominated Vooch in the past and just averaged 16 PPG, 12.3 RPG and 3.4 BPG over 4 meetings with Orland last year. He’s simply a problem for any center and Vucevic is one of the worst individual defenders in the league. With D-Wade and Chris Bosh out of the picture, Miami will turn to Whiteside and Goran Dragic as their primary options, and Dragic functions best as a slashing facilitator, who should keep the big man involved in PnR sets, thereby maintaining Whiteside’s ferocity on the defensive end of the floor.
Myles Turner (IND) vs. DAL: DK:$6,200/FD:$6,400
Turner was an absolute beast once he got an opportunity to log consistent minutes for the Pacers and they're not messing around with their stud big man, as he's likely to start on Opening Night while veteran Al Jefferson backs him up. Turner draws a great matchup off the bat against a Mavs team that coughed up the third-most RPG (12.46) and tenth-most FPPG (43.6) to opposing PFs last season. Dirk Nowitzki has clearly lost a step and was never a great defender, while Andrew Bogut is not capable of playing heavy minutes at center. Turner dominated challengers at the rim throughout the preseason and he should own the paint against the Mavericks aging front court.
Steven Adams ($5800/$4700) is simply too cheap on FD after his strong showing to close out the 2015-16 season, which carried over into an impressive preseason.
Clint Capela ($5900/$4200) will get an opportunity to run with the Rockets starting center job and he should benefit from the fast pace of tonight’s game. Also consider Timofey Mozgov ($4400/$3900) as a dirt cheap option in the same contest.